Impeachment hearings begin on TV | Megyn Kelly launches on Instagram | Uber CEO’s Axios interview gaffe

November 11, 2019
Category: Newsletters

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Good Monday morning. It’s a big week: impeachment hearings in the House of Representatives will be televised beginning on Wednesday. Let’s start there.

Impeachment proceedings: Must-see TV?

Will the open impeachment inquiry be must-see TV?

Maybe.

It’s true that this could be a pivotal time in the history of our country — something we could look back at years from now as a defining moment. But for now, it’s important to remember that this is a process and it might not move as quickly or dramatically as an episode of “Law & Order.”

Democrats want there to be drama. They want fireworks. They want the “gotcha” moments. Republicans who support President Donald Trump want boring television, so that the public yawns and turns away. They want to prove their assertion that this is all much ado about nothing.

CNN’s Lauren Fox reported that a Democratic leadership aide told her, “The first hour of a hearing and the first hearing has got to be a blockbuster.”

As CNN’s Brian Stelter points out, this will be the first impeachment in the internet age, and the first in the social media age. He also notes it will be the first impeachment since Fox News became a political force that could shape views. All of those things could sway public opinion. I would add one more thing: Unlike in past impeachment hearings, this time the president will be reacting in real time. It’s almost guaranteed that Trump will tweet his thoughts — likely as the hearings are held.

In the end, none of that will impact Trump actually being removed from office. The Senate, if it gets that far, will decide that and there likely aren’t enough votes to oust Trump. But how Americans view this impeachment inquiry obviously could impact the 2020 election.

Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan writes that the media should focus on substance and facts rather than speculating on how the hearings are playing out to the public. And while she has a point, we all know that’s not how this is going to go down.

The media will speculate. It will become distracted. At the same time, covering the public’s reaction will be an important part of this story.

The good news is that the hearings will be on television, so members of the public can judge what they are seeing for themselves.

So will it be what we generally refer to as “must-see TV?” Maybe. Is it important TV? Absolutely.

Well, that’s one way to get back to work


Megyn Kelly. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Megyn Kelly’s back.

The former Fox News-turned-NBC host made a newsworthy return Friday when she interviewed the former ABC News producer who was accused of leaking a clip in which journalist Amy Robach said ABC sat on a Jeffrey Epstein story three years ago. The producer, Ashley Bianco, was fired from a new job at CBS over something she claims she did not do.

“I’m not the whistleblower,” Bianco told Kelly. “I just want my career back. I want people to know I didn’t do it. That’s alI I want.”

Page Six’s Laura Italiano has a good breakdown of the interview. But just as intriguing was Kelly being back in the news. After her time at NBC came to a controversial end over her comments about people wearing blackface, she appeared to have no TV options, especially if returning to Fox News was off the table.

Kelly isn’t going back to TV at the moment. Instead, she is taking her talents to Instagram. On her account she wrote, “Follow along with me here @MegynKelly, for current stories and my insight in real time.”

It still feels like just a bridge until she rejoins a TV network.

‘Coach’s Corner’ needs to go


Don Cherry. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Don Cherry is a legend in Canada. The former NHL coach has been the star of a segment called “Coach’s Corner” during the iconic “Hockey Night in Canada” Saturday night game for 38 years. Wearing outrageous suits, the gruff 85-year-old Cherry gives his old-school takes on hockey. He also is known for his support of veterans, which led to a controversial moment Saturday.

In the days leading up to today’s Canadian Remembrance Day, which remembers those who have died in service, many Canadians often wear poppies (or an artificial flower) on their lapels. It’s that tradition that set off Cherry on Saturday when he seemingly referred to immigrants who don’t wear poppies.

“You people — you that come here, whatever it is —  you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple of bucks for a poppy or something like that,” Cherry said on the air. “These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada; these guys paid the biggest price.”

You people?

SportsNet, the network that produces and has editorial control of “Hockey Night in Canada,” put out a statement Sunday from network president Bart Yabsley, who said, “Don’s discriminatory comments are offensive and they do not represent our values and what we stand for as a network. We have spoken with Don about the severity of this issue and we sincerely apologize for these divisive remarks.”

Cherry hasn’t apologized and SportsNet’s apology is woefully insufficient if it allows Cherry to continue on with no consequences. After all, Cherry has a history of making comments that have been considered racist, sexist and homophobic. And it always goes like this: Cherry says something unacceptable, others apologize for him and then Cherry goes back on the air. Why? Because Cherry gets ratings. He’s a tradition. He’s beloved. And many agree with his conservative views.

If that happens again — if Cherry simply goes back to work with nothing more said — SportsNet’s statement is meaningless.

Meanwhile, during the segment, his co-host Ron MacLean appeared to agree with Cherry (he gave a thumbs up). Normally a voice of reason and good conscience, MacLean realized what he initially condoned and apologized on the air Sunday. He said:

“Don Cherry made remarks which were hurtful, discriminatory, which were flat out wrong. We at Sportsnet have apologized. It certainly doesn’t stand for what Sportsnet or Rogers (Communications) represents. We know diversity is the strength of the country. We see it in travels with our show and with Hockey Night in Canada. I owe you an apology, too: that’s the big thing I want to emphasize. I sat there, did not catch it, did not respond.”

MacLean also apologized on Twitter, and the NHL put out a statement condemning Cherry’s comments. Cutting ties with Cherry would be messy for SportsNet, and likely cause its own backlash. But the network needs to figure out a way to bring “Coach’s Corner” to an end.

Uber CEO missteps during Axios interview


Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi on Friday in Los Angeles. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)

In a jaw-dropping moment on Sunday’s “Axios on HBO,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi defined the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi as a “mistake” and even compared it to Uber’s self-driving accident in which a woman died. After the interview, Khosrowshahi called Axios to offer regret for what he said and then sent a statement to Axios that read:

“I said something in the moment that I do not believe. When it comes to Jamal Khashoggi, his murder was reprehensible and should not be forgotten or excused.”

This is all came up because Saudi Arabia is Uber’s fifth-largest shareholder and the head of Saudi Arabia’s wealth fund is on Uber’s board of directors.

Banking exec to ’60 Minutes’: Not a bad guy


JPMorgan Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon. (Photo courtesy of CBS News)

“I’m not a bad guy.”

That’s not a direct quote, but that’s essentially what JPMorgan Chase chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon told Lesley Stahl on Sunday’s “60 Minutes.” Dimon talked about how he has been targeted by progressive Democrats such as Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Dimon said he understands why the head of America’s largest bank gets criticism, but he resents when he is accused of not being a patriot.

“That’s just dead wrong,” Dimon said.

He added, “You should vilify Nazis, but you shouldn’t vilify people who worked hard to accomplish things. And so my comment is, American society — we’re just attacking each other all the time.”

Collaboration: ‘California’s Criminal Cops’

Cops on the job even after being arrested and convicted of crimes. That’s the subject of a superb piece of journalism that I wanted to highlight this morning.

McClatchy’s California news sites, along with their partners from Bay Area News Group, MediaNews Group, USA Today Network, Voice of San Diego, Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting and UC Berkeley’s Investigative Reporting Program put together a six-month investigation to produce California’s Criminal Cops. The series includes a searchable database of hundreds of officers convicted of crimes over the past decade.

More installments in the series will be published today and Tuesday.

Hot type

  • The Wall Street Journal’s paywall was down over the weekend, and will be down today as well. It’s a chance for readers to see the WSJ’s journalism at no cost. I was going to recommend a couple of stories to read, but it’s all good. Check it out.
  • A disturbing report about the collision of nuclear power and climate change. A remarkable piece of journalism from the Los Angeles Times, most notably reporter Susanne Rust, with help from the Investigative Reporting Resource at the Columbia Journalism School.
  • She thought that being a health care reporter would make cancer easier. She was wrong. A must-read from Politico’s Alexandra Glorioso.
  • Football is America’s most popular sport. We love to watch it. But do our kids love to play it? Times are changing and The New York Times has a superb package on America’s changing views toward football participation.

Have feedback or a tip? Email Poynter senior media writer Tom Jones at tjones@poynter.org.

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